In municipalities of the Swiss Alpine regions the share of ecological compensation areas (ECAs) ranges from 2 % to over 40 % of the used agricultural area. How do climatic, agronomic, or socio-economic conditions explain these variations and how does the amount of ECAs influence the success of the ecological compensation programme? As part of the National research project 48 «Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps» we conducted a spatially comprehensive survey. We found that the share of ECAs depended mostly on altitude. The effectiveness of the ecological compensation programme however does not depend on the amount of ECAs in municipalities. At lower elevations of the mountain regions ECAs are probably declared at marginal sites and thus show a contrasting botanical composition. At higher elevations, the direct payments for managing ECAs allow an extensive management at the landscape scale. In these municipalities the agri-environmental scheme is probably preventing both management intensification and abandonment.
Grass-based beef production is markedly less productive than intensive year-round indoor-housing system-based production. Agroscope experts therefore studied how grass-based farms can produce both economically and in an ecologically sound manner.
Orchard crop spraying using unmanned aerial spraying systems commonly referred to as drones can lead to drift, posing a risk to residents and bystanders. The study shows that the risks arising from this are taken into account by the current registration process.
Trials conducted by FiBL have shown that conversion to organic farming also promotes endangered Red List species such as the carabid beetle species Amara tricuspidata. This species and other species consume seeds of forbs and grasses and thus supports natural weed control.